Old Mutual. Picture: BLOOMBERG/SIMON DAWSON
Old Mutual. Picture: BLOOMBERG/SIMON DAWSON

Well done to Old Mutual, which won Deal of the Year in the annual DealMakers awards. Is the destruction of a badly conceived foreign organisation a “deal”? Are mergers and acquisitions not the real “deals”?

The problem with Old Mutual, which Business Day is unable to criticise or debate because of the obscene level of advertising spend it benefits from, is that it has lost the plot. Is it a company with shareholders and highly paid directors? It is described as “a mutual life insurance society, operative in 17 countries”. Can it be both?

Whatever the answer, a huge number of policyholders have seen their investments dwindle in value. Nowhere in any of the reports on the company are policyholders mentioned — this tells its own story. And as a company, is a share price move from circa R11 to a little over R40 in 20 years something to shout about?

After failing abysmally in uncharted waters, the prodigal son returns, glorified in a cloak of many colours. But with the flag at half-mast.

C Richards
Via e-mail